The Delhi High Court on Friday objected to investigating agencies slapping stringent charges against individuals on the basis of mere assumptions, and without producing the alleged incriminating documents that form the basis of such charges.
In an oral comment, a bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel said that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) contributes to the criminal justice system, so it should do due diligence while slapping charges and hand over all documents to the accused person.
“Suppose you hand over a sealed cover documents (with) explosive material against a person, on the basis of which he is denied bail. How will he file an appeal against the order to the larger court,” the bench asked the NIA’s counsel.
The court said that “even the trial court should examine all these aspects”.
The court’s observations came after the NIA’s counsel, while opposing Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali’s bail plea in HC, said that the agency does not need to produce or mention every documents against the person accused in the case.
Watali had moved HC after a trial court denied him bail on June 8.
The NIA arrested Watali on August 17 last year for his alleged role in a terror funding case, which also involves Lashkar-e-Taiba chief and 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed.
The High Court today stressed that not “mere assumption” but a chargesheet, “accompanied by documents”, should be the ground for denying bail or keeping a person in custody.
“If so, the investigating officer should only file one or two pages (of) chargesheet, saying (that) in view of the annexures or documents, so and so charges should be framed against the person,” the bench said.
“It is very simple, and even the trial court judges will save time…. We will also ask judges to frame charges on basis of your documents.”
The NIA contended that Watali could not satisfactorily explain the source of funds he had received and if released on bail he may hamper the probe and escape.
To this, the bench asked how the NIA concluded that the fund was not part of Watali’s business transaction.
Appearing for the accused, senior advocate Vikas Pahwa contended that no offence under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) was made out against his client in the chargesheet and that he had already spent over 12 months in jail.
The NIA chargesheeted, filed on January 18, named Watali along with Hafiz Saeed, Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, seven Kashmiri separatist leaders and others.